Although New Jersey junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia suffered what he considers “some little bruises here and there” from a bloody eighth-round technical knockout victory over Abraham Han on Friday, as the saying goes, “you should see the other guy.”
“The other guy?” said Tapia, 23. “You know, he’s messed up a little bit.”
Tapia (19-0, 11 knockouts) survived a back-and-forth show-stealing clash of unbeatens against Han (19-1, 12 KOs), whom he dropped in the seventh round after having been doubled over by a debilitating fifth-round body shot in an ESPN2-televised bout at the Texas Station Casino in Las Vegas.
The condition of Han, 28, whom referee, Jay Nady, forbid to come out for the ninth round, is best described by his conqueror.
“I think that he had three cuts. He had the one happened after we head-butted on the top of the head, and then he had the one where I caught him with a right hand under the left eye. And then, under his right eye, he had another cut,” said Tapia, of Passaic, N.J.
“I mean, he was cut everywhere. There was a lot of blood, and he was bruised everywhere too. I think that when the fight was stopped, it was warranted. I actually wanted him to come out for maybe one more round, because I think that I would have stopped him.”
For Tapia, the win represented a major step up in competition, and a marked improvement, intensity-wise, from his previous outing — April’s unanimous decision in a slugfest with Puerto Rican opponent Joseph de los Santos (17-11-3, 9 KOs), who has since won three straight by knockout.
“It was a great performance, it’s going to make him a much, much better fighter. He faced adversity, and he came through like a true champion would. Let’s not forget about Abraham Han, you know, both fighters should be proud of themselves for a fight like that. Unfortunately, you’ve got a guy that gets a ‘W,’ and a guy that gets an ‘L,’” said Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman.
“But fights like that don’t hurt anybody. This doesn’t hurt Abraham. If anything, it actually benefited his career where he’ll get opportunities and stuff like that. But as far as Tapia, it was a great performance, it was a great fight, and he rose to the occasion. This was definitely a step up in class, and he came through. He had some setbacks in the fifth round, but he came through, and at the end of the day, that’s what a true champion is made of.”
Still, manager Pat Lynch sees room for improvement in Tapia.
“There are some things that we absolutely need to work on. His conditioning needs to be a little bit better. That was something that we discussed. I was happy that the referee stopped it when he did, because I thought that Han was taking a lot of punishment. But, obviously, the heart and the will is nothing that I ever question with Glen, and he brought that out last night. It was just incredible,” said Lynch.
“I mean, he is a frigging true warrior, really, through and through, but what we’d like to see is, I think that he was dropping his hands a little bit and he got hit a little bit too much for what we like. But the things that need to be corrected can be corrected, and the gift that he has the skills that can definitely take him to the top. So a few little adjustments here in the gym, his trainer, Alex Devia, will take care of that.”
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR
“We had heard that Han had been kind of calling Glen Tapia out, which was I guess about six or eight months ago or something like that,” said Lynch.
“We had heard about that, and we saw tapes of Han, and I said, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s take the fight.’ Hats off to them for taking the fight, I mean, you’re putting a 19-0 guy in with an 18-0 guy, and, usually, you don’t do that when you’re grooming a fighter, but I felt confident about the fight.”
TAPIA TO HEADLINE IN ATLANTIC CITY ON SEPT. 28
“Top Rank is extremely happy. [Top Rank matchmakers] Bruce Trampler and Brad, they said, ‘Look, man, he elevated himself to another level tonight.’ It was a great win for him, and they saw a lot of things that they were happy to see. It was just wonderful,” said Lynch.
“We’re going to come back in Atlantic City at Bally’s on Sept. 28, and he’ll be the main event on Univision, and, obviously, we’ll work on an opponent. He’s ranked within the top 10 in the world, and he won the NABO title, and so it was a really good night for us.”
CHRIS AVALOS DECISIONS DRIAN FRANCISCO
In the junior featherweight main event, Chris Avalos (22-2, 16 KOs), of Lancaster, Calif., unanimously decisioned Drian Franciso (24-2-1, 19 KOs), ending the loser’s four-bout winning streak that had included three consecutive knockouts.
“Chris makes great fights, and he came through in the last couple of rounds with a decision, and with that win, something big is going to happen over there,” said Goodman. “He fits in at 122 with certain guys if he works on certain things. With this win, he’ll benefit financially and things like that.”
JESSIE HART, TOKA KHAN-CLARY SHINE
Hart demolished Eddie Hunter (7-10-2, 2 KOs) in just two rounds, earning his third consecutive stoppage win. Meanwhile, Khan-Clary blasted hard-hitting Pablo Torres (7-6-2, 5 KOs) also two rounds, stopping him for only the second time in his career, and, doing so swifter than he had previously been knocked out. Torres was coming off of a unanimous decision in November of last year over previously unbeaten Jose Rodriguez.
“Jessie Hart is going to be a future world champion, just like Toka Khan-Clary. I was very, very impressed with both guys last night. Eddie Hunter, even though he was 8-8, he was known as a very durable guy and, you know, Hart just walked right through him,” said Goodman.
“And Toka Khan, to me, he’s just getting better and better with each and every fight. He’s explosive out of his southpaw style, and he fought a guy that was 5-5, but a very durable 5-5 who I don’t believe had ever been stopped before and who was coming off of a really impressive win against an undefeated kid from Dallas, Texas.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com